Coventry and Warwickshire residents are being encouraged to join the mental health conversation for Time to Talk Day, and the importance of reaching out to others about how we are feeling.
One in four people experience a mental health problem in any given year and research shows that people are often afraid to talk about their mental health experiences because they fear the response and stigma they may receive. However, open, direct and honest conversations can break down barriers, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many people feel when experiencing a mental health problem.
Many people will be feeling the pressures from the rising cost of living crisis, that’s having a huge impact on mental health across our society. The uncertainty of keeping on top of soaring incoming bills and difficult decisions between heating or eating has increased stress and anxiety levels for many. With these challenging times not appearing to ease up any time soon, heightened stress and anxiety levels can lead to low moods and depression. That’s why opening up about our feelings by chatting to someone we trust like a family member, a friend or a colleague is so important and can often lighten the load, particularly as they may be feeling a similar way.
It can be difficult to know how to start a conversation or respond to someone who is struggling if they come to you for advice. The Dear Life website, a site created specifically for residents in Coventry and Warwickshire, offers a wealth of information about where to seek help in a crisis, ways to support others in need, and tips and tools on how to maintain and improve your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
Coventry and Warwickshire Healthy Mind Service (IAPT) is a national NHS programme designed to increase the availability of talking therapy. Their therapists and counsellors work in the psychological therapy team as part of Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, in partnership with Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.
If you are over 16 years old and registered with a GP in Coventry, Warwickshire or Solihull, you can refer yourself or be referred by your GP or other health professional. For an initial appointment telephone: 024 7667 1090 (9.00am - 4.30pm, Monday - Friday) or fill in an online Self-Referral Form.
The Healthy Mind Service also run free therapeutic courses and group sessions that you might be useful. Just call 024 7667 1090 to discuss if these might help you.
The Zero Suicide Alliance, a charity aiming to raise awareness of suicide, has developed free online training that anyone can complete to give them the skills and confidence to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. A second interactive course is available to help people learn how social isolation can affect mental health and how they can support someone who is feeling isolated.
Supportive tools like the Stay Alive app, a free suicide prevention pocket resource, can also help individuals that are struggling to cope. It contains tips and practical steps to help support someone feeling suicidal as well as local mental health and suicide prevention information.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone today, they can call Coventry and Warwickshire’s local mental health helpline (provided by Wellbeing For Warwickshire) on 0800 616 171 and speak to a professional for free. Helpline staff can provide emotional support for residents who:
- feel low, anxious or stressed and want to talk to another person
- feel extreme emotional distress and feel there is nowhere else to turn
- care for another person and are finding it difficult to cope
- need advice about how to get more support with an issue that's affecting their mental wellbeing
- feel socially isolated and just need a chat.
There is also a range of mental health and wellbeing services including cost of living support across Coventry and Warwickshire to help you during difficult times. If you’re struggling financially or concerned about the future, getting help early can make a big difference in managing cost of living pressures.
Councillor Margaret Bell, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for Adult Social Care & Health, said: “If you are struggling, there are lots of support services available locally, and you can access them in a variety of ways – whatever works best for you. Remember – your mental health is important, you are not alone and there is always someone available to listen.
“Talking about mental health isn’t just about accessing services. Take this day as a reminder to reach out to your friends and family and check in on how they’re doing. There are lots of benefits to starting a conversation about mental health. It helps to reduce the stigma towards this important topic, gives the opportunity to air smaller worries before they worsen, and creates a caring environment to encourage further communication and support.”
Coventry City Council Councillor Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public Health and Wellbeing said: “Coventry City Council has been offering support to residents throughout the winter months to look after their wellbeing including during the cost of living crisis, and we continue to do this by taking part in Time to Talk Day this February.
“A small conversation about mental health has the potential to make a huge difference and change lives. This can help to end isolation in communities and bring people together, breaking down the stigma and shame that many of us feel when experiencing a mental health problem, especially as we are learning to live with Covid and trying to navigate the cost of living crisis.
“If you are worried about someone, talk to them and truly listen to their response and remember, support is always available across our area for people who need it, including fantastic self-help resources such as the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and the Dear Life website.
“A problem shared is a problem halved.”
Marie Nicholls, General Manager, Adult Community Mental Health Services at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “With all the pressures we are under today, many people’s mental health is suffering. Talking about your mental health isn’t easy, but it can be the first step towards starting to making a positive change. It doesn’t matter if it’s your friend, family member or a health professional, that first step of opening up a conversation and seeking help is so important.
“We also urge you to look out for changes in your family and friends, and encourage them to talk to you. Just asking someone how they feel or if they’re ok can open the door to a conversation and make all the difference.
“Our Healthy Mind Service (IAPT) provides free NHS Talking Therapy to anyone over 16 living in Coventry or Warwickshire. If you’re struggling with your mental health, depression or anxiety, do give them a call. Their website also has lots of useful free resources and groups: www.healthymindservice.co.uk. This ‘Time to Talk Day, remember talking can be the first step to getting the help you need.”
The following local and national mental health support and helplines are also available:
- NHS Mental Health Access Hubs: Freephone 08081 966798
- Rise (for children and young people) call 08081 966798 (select option 2).
- Dimensions Tool offers immediate tailored self-help support and signposting to local services.
- Coventry Safe Haven: 6-11pm every day; 07921 876065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Warwickshire Safe Haven: 6-11pm every day; 02477 714554/07970 042270 or email email@example.com
- Chat Health is a free service that enables 11 – 18 year olds across Coventry and Warwickshire to send confidential SMS text messages to School Nurses who will provide impartial advice and support.
- For Coventry, text 07507 331 949
- For Warwickshire, text 07507 331 525
- Coventry and Warwickshire Healthy Mind Service (IAPT), call 024 7667 1090 or use the online self-referral form at www.healthymindservice.com/self-referral
- Visit Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council website to find out about the range of mental health and wellbeing support services available to you.
- The Samaritans call 116 123
- YoungMinds Crisis Messenger: text YM to 85258
- Papyrus Hopeline UK suicide prevention helpline: call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860 039967
- Every Mind Matters is the national NHS mental health support to help you manage and maintain your mental health, as good mental health makes such a difference. Resources, tools and free apps are available to help support you and your family. Recently launched is the ‘make inside feel better” campaign, largely aimed at those most at risk of mental health problems. Aimed at adults, but weighted towards those most at risk of mental health problems who can take the free NHS-approved ‘Mind Plan’ quiz.
- Togetherall Support Network is an anonymous online mental health and wellbeing service that combines the online forum element where people can support one another, as well as 24/7/365 clinical support and creative tools, resources and courses. Available for residents in both Coventry and Warwickshire.